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Do you need special shampoo after straightening hair?


Al asks…I’ve always read that once you have gone for some type of permanent straightening (like Brazilian or keratin one…) you should not use either salt (Sodium Chloride) or sulfates. If I’m right those process change covalent bridges in the hair so, how do sulfates or salt affect then? I’m also curious if per example sulfates (or salt?) would affect when you’ve done some type of non-permanente straightening, since their lasting power seems to be related to washing frequency. The commercial explanations are that both “wear off” the keratin used to “stuff” the hair – but since is not the keratin the one giving the effect…(or is it?) Also I would like to know how semi-permanent treatments involving some type of chemistry -not only heat- come off, if the products used affect most likely free cysteine and create some type of weak bonds, those “wear off”?

The Beauty Brains respond:
Great questions, Al!

How do chemical hair straighteners work?

As we’ve previously discussed these straighteners work by reacting with the protein bonds in hair that give it structure. As you suggested they do NOT work by stuffing the hair full of keratin.

If you think of the structure of hair as a ladder these protein bonds are like the rungs that cross link the two sides of the ladder. When all the rungs are in place the ladder holds its shape tightly and when the rungs are broken the ladder becomes wobbly and changes shape. Hair is kind of the same way. If you break and reform these protein bonds you can make hair curly or straight.

How do these treatments wear off?

The new bonds formed by these treatments are not as strong or as numerous as hair’s natural bonds so it’s normal that the hair will revert to its normal shape over time. (And of course any new hair growth will be curly.)

How much reversion you see depends on which straightening technology you use:

  • Relaxing is the most powerful and the most damaging but it’s the longest lasting.
  • Formaldehyde straightening is also very effective and long lasting but exposure to high levels of formaldehyde is dangerous.
  • Cysteine based products (like Garnier’s straightening kit) are safer to use and milder on your hair but the bonds they form are not as strong or long lasting.

Do you need a special shampoo?

The idea that you need to use a special shampoo after a hair straightening process is more marketing hype than anything else. There’s no evidence that suggests the type of surfactant impacts how the disulfide bonds oxidize. It’s more likely that the company is trying to sell you a more expensive sulfate free shampoo. Ditto for salt – not only does it not affect the bonds but it’s likely to be present in the formula even if it doesn’t appear on the ingredient list. That’s because salt (we’re talking about sodium chloride here) is a common by-product in the manufacture of many surfactants.

However it IS true that you should wait a day or two before shampooing your hair after a thio or cysteine based straightening treatment because it takes a that long for the oxygen in the air to oxidize the protein bonds.

{ 109 comments… add one }

  • Rozy December 7, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Once I heard the term “special shampoo” my bullshit detectors went off. Definitely marketing. Great response brains!

  • Pedro December 8, 2013, 9:01 pm

    In Brazil the myth that NaCl damages hair is so strong that Unilever, P & G, L’oréal etc. sell “special” shampoos in our market – without sodium chloride.

  • Desiree December 9, 2013, 7:42 am

    I have relaxing my hair since I was a teeneger, we dont need a special shampoo, but it is better to use a moisturizer shampoo and conditioner,
    because relaxing makes the hair dryer, thiner and fragile, if you dont take good care of it.

    Hope that helps

  • swapnija February 2, 2015, 11:49 pm

    can i use loreal pink shampoo after permanant hair straightening?

  • kaajal March 7, 2015, 2:09 am

    Which shampoo would u recommed after a scbwarzkopf smoothning treatement?

    • Randy Schueller March 7, 2015, 8:58 am

      You should use a conditioning shampoo to help keep your hair smooth and straight. The brand doesn’t matter that much.

  • jewel jose August 9, 2015, 9:54 am

    which shampoo would recommend after a smoothening treatment.Can Iuse LOreal hair fall resucue shampoo with total repair 5 conditioner?

  • saritha baduvandra November 13, 2015, 10:29 pm

    Can I use loreal shampoo after smoothing……?

    • Randy Schueller November 14, 2015, 9:03 am

      Yes.

      • usha April 13, 2017, 11:29 pm

        can i use loreal anti-hairfall shampoo after smoothening?… or it may would affect my hair from scalp?

    • Poonam July 6, 2016, 3:18 am

      Can I use loreal shampoo after matrix smoothening.and which type of loreal

  • Angela Lowe December 6, 2015, 3:44 am

    Can I use a cheaper version of kerastraight shampoo? ie Tresamme Keratin shampoo

  • kaka rio January 4, 2016, 9:59 am

    Iv dne straightening n colouring mny tyms ma hair is dry,damaged n it hs lots of split ends wat shampoo n conditioner wud be bes for ma hair?

    • Randy Schueller January 4, 2016, 11:32 am

      Have you tried Pantene or Tresemme? Those are both good conditioning formulas which is what you need for dry damaged hair.

  • Nadia January 17, 2016, 10:28 am

    Great post! 🙂 I know I should wait 2-3 days before washing my hair after relaxing it, but would how about using dry shampoo? I just straightened mine, and was wondering if I could prolong the time before the initial wash by using dry shampoo.

  • Ishu Malhan February 17, 2016, 7:21 am

    Which is used after Schwarzkopf smoothing and which shampoo is more moisturised

  • Bhavya kanchan March 2, 2016, 10:08 am

    Can i use Tresseme keratin smooth shampoo after Smoothening?

  • Nishi March 14, 2016, 9:36 am

    I have done my permanent hair straighting but NW my hair’s look dull coz I m nt using same product shampoo used during rebonding NW they look dry and fizzy and sometimes I used dryer so any solution for my hairs to make them shiner and what care should be taken after rebonding

  • Lavanya April 10, 2016, 12:00 pm

    Is tigi head bed shampoo and conditioner is good product to be used for hair ?

  • Sheethal Kumari April 17, 2016, 7:41 am

    I have done hair smoothening 4 months back. I was using loreal liss unlimited shampoo.

    Now I have switched to bed head elasticate shampoo.

    Does the new shampoo suits to my smoothnd hair?

    Please reply soon as possible

    • Randy Schueller April 17, 2016, 10:04 am

      There’s nothing wrong with using this shampoo. Try it and see if you like the way your hair feels.

  • Kalpita April 22, 2016, 7:44 am

    After smoothening is it a compulsion to use any specific shampoo or tresseme keratin smooth shampoo can be used??
    plz reply on priority

    • Randy Schueller April 22, 2016, 1:37 pm

      As we stated in the article: The idea that you need to use a special shampoo after a hair straightening process is more marketing hype than anything else. There’s no evidence that suggests the type of surfactant impacts how the disulfide bonds oxidize. It’s more likely that the company is trying to sell you a more expensive sulfate free shampoo. Ditto for salt – not only does it not affect the bonds but it’s likely to be present in the formula even if it doesn’t appear on the ingredient list. That’s because salt (we’re talking about sodium chloride here) is a common by-product in the manufacture of many surfactants.

      However it IS true that you should wait a day or two before shampooing your hair after a thio or cysteine based straightening treatment because it takes a that long for the oxygen in the air to oxidize the protein bonds.

  • Sarita mohapatra April 25, 2016, 1:33 pm

    I have done permanent hair straighting for 1 year. Can I use vlcc protein conditioning shampoo.

  • Mehwish May 6, 2016, 9:37 am

    My hair is so frrizy and currly.. I want my hair straight and smooth but not with rebonding or straighten treatments i like naturally so what should i do for that? i m little confused..
    Plz suggest me fast

  • gaanashree May 12, 2016, 12:56 am

    I got my hair permanently straightened 2 months back with matrixopti care smoothing..BT I had dandruff problem..so after straightening I’m experiencing too much hairfall..I consulted my stylist,they suggested dandruff treatment..I took 3 sittings..BT my hairfall has bcm more severe than before .if I ask them, they just change my shampoo r treatment..I have so much money..yet no results..please suggest some solution for my problem.. My thick hair has become too thin now..I’m very depressed….and I’m afraid to try home remedies as I just got hair straightening 2 months back..I dnt want to take risk..so I’m listening whatever they r suggesting..

    • dolly sharma August 22, 2016, 10:54 am

      you should apply a hair mask that constitutes 2 eggs and one or half cup of curd, it won’t harm your straightened hair and will make them denser and strong 🙂

    • Bhakti March 10, 2017, 11:30 pm

      Listen , plz trust me ,use homemade remedies it won’t affect ur straightened hair ,if you use the remidies only on scalp , apply Lemmon , onion , gossbery juies on your sclap , with the help of a cotton ball, you can use anyone of them , use camphor and eggs too , try to keeps the juice on scalp and not all over hairs , i am having thin hairs now, due to my negligence , but my hair fall has stopped now, try urs

  • Neha Saini May 15, 2016, 11:36 pm

    I got hair smoothening yesterday.. Can I use Loreal Paris Total Repair Shampoo and Conditioner??? Plz reply soon..

  • deepika May 19, 2016, 3:43 am

    I have been done smoothning two days back…can I use clinic plus as I was using…and is it essential to use mask on my head

  • Sangeeta June 21, 2016, 5:14 am

    Which shampoo is best for who have done permanent hair straightening treatment plz reply soon

  • Mansi July 31, 2016, 11:18 am

    Are herbal shampoos better than tresemme and pantene for smoothened hair?

    • Randy Schueller August 1, 2016, 8:48 am

      No, from a scientific standpoint herbal shampoos will not provide any additional benefit.

  • NAZIH BEAUTY PARLOUR August 9, 2016, 4:49 am

    can we apply shampoo or conditioner on hair after permanent hair straightening …………….plz reply soon

  • Diksha singh August 10, 2016, 2:19 am

    I jst got my hair smoothened.nd m being askd to use loreal xtenso shampoo n masque..can i switch to trseme or dove?…..plz reply its really needed

  • Mrs Waqar August 15, 2016, 3:13 pm

    Hello Mr. Randy,
    I got an extenso treatment on my hair 2 weeks back, and the stylist suggested me to use L’oreal Liss Unlimited Shampoo, Masque and Serum but I can’t afford to buy it as it is too expensive.
    Can I use Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Masque or Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo along with Dove Masque? I want my hair to remain straight and shiny for a long period of time.
    Please reply soon.

  • Pampa Biswas August 19, 2016, 12:35 am

    Can I use Amway shampoos after smoothning? Pls reply soon.

    • Randy Schueller August 19, 2016, 8:42 am

      Yes.

      • Rithika January 18, 2017, 10:56 am

        I have chemically starightened my hair. Which shampoo do you suggest I use?

  • Ritika August 21, 2016, 2:21 am

    Can you plz tell that i have done smoothening from matrix so is it necessary to use the matrix shampoo and conditioner or its just their selling technique?

  • Prarthana September 6, 2016, 8:20 am

    Hello,
    I have done hair smoothening 15 days back.Can I apply Indian gooseberry juce?

    • Randy Schueller September 6, 2016, 3:32 pm

      I suppose so. I’ve never heard of Indian gooseberry juice having any special properties that affect hair.

  • Santosh September 8, 2016, 7:04 am

    Hi Randy,
    I have done hair smoothening last month.Is it really required to do hair spa?Can I apply hair oil?

  • Mythri September 8, 2016, 11:53 am

    Hello!!!
    I have just straightened my hairs. Can I use Tressemme keratin smooth shampoo? Please help.
    Thanks in advance.

  • swathi September 9, 2016, 9:08 am

    which shampoo of pantene is better after permanent smoothening?

    • Randy Schueller September 9, 2016, 12:12 pm

      It should’t make too much difference but you might want to use one of the conditioning version and avoid the clarifying product.

      • cesca eusebio February 17, 2017, 7:56 am

        hi! 😉 may i just ask why we shouLd avoid cLarifying products? cause it’s the one recommended by the parLorist

  • pallavi September 11, 2016, 1:34 pm

    sir .do you think applying hair oil and allowing it to condition for the whole night.then next day doing shampooing and conditioning with the stylish recommended products.will this procedure help me out to prevent from damage….since in INDIA it is believed that oil is the best conditioning
    PLZ DO REPLY 🙂

    • Randy Schueller September 11, 2016, 3:28 pm

      Yes, according to the data we’ve seen, applying coconut oil to hair and leaving it on over night is a good way to condition hair.

  • Sunita September 12, 2016, 3:16 am

    I have just straightened my hairs last month. Can I apply oil ?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Shruti September 17, 2016, 5:32 am

    Can I use dove keretan active shampoo after hair rebounding?? I don’t want to change my shampoo?? Can it effect the rebounding??

  • diksha singh September 22, 2016, 3:12 pm

    Is it ok to use matrix shampoo with loreal xtenso masque in smoothened hairs.reply plxxx

    • Randy Schueller September 22, 2016, 9:36 pm

      I’m not aware of any scientific reason not to use those products together. However, you may or may not like the way the combination feels.

  • Bithika Baishya September 23, 2016, 8:10 am

    I have hair straightening, but as there was colour on my front portion of hair, those hairs became frizzy dry and fluffy….now kindly suggest me which shampoo and conditioner I shall use or what to do to make it alright…kindly reply soon.

  • Kathakali sar October 6, 2016, 9:48 am

    can i use normal dove shampoo after having permanent hair straightening by matrix?

  • Amarpreet October 18, 2016, 1:58 am

    I have done straight therapy before 1 week but but i m.not happy after that bcoz my face is heavy its noy look good on me what should i do to look bounce in my hairs and my hairs are too damage bcoz of over using of blow dryier

  • taman October 21, 2016, 3:41 pm

    ive done cysteine treatment and my stylist said to use sulphate free shampoo.. i am actually not happy with the treatment and i want it to wearoff sooner. can u suggest me a way to get the normal hair shape faster

  • sunita October 23, 2016, 2:11 am

    I got my hair smoothening by using lorial product which shampoo is suitable for my dry hair & dandruff problem

  • sarita November 6, 2016, 2:48 am

    Hlw sir i’ve got smoothning last 4months now my hairs gets freezy nd dry evn hair fall also strt evn i use matrix opt.care shampoo.now i want to change my shampoo can i use sunsilk blck or pink plz rply me soon.

  • koel dey November 6, 2016, 1:45 pm

    when can I start oiling my hair after straightning and can I use almond oil ? and I did straightning from loreal , so can I use dove intense repair shampoo conditioner ?

  • juhi November 10, 2016, 12:16 am

    Very helpful thanks

  • Farah November 10, 2016, 8:53 am

    I have done l’oreal X Tenso last week, can i use mythic oil

  • Pallavi November 14, 2016, 11:38 pm

    Hi, I got Olaplex treatment done yesterday for my dry and frizzy hair. I have been doing straightening for quite some years now. Can I apply oil after olaplex treatment. What other natural hair packs could help control frizz. Can I apply henna, curd and egg pack. Will it undo my treatments? Please advice.

  • Urmila Gupta December 1, 2016, 4:50 am

    Hello Sir,
    I have done permanent hair straightening 3 days back. My stylist has suggested me to go again at saloon for the FIRST HAIR WASH and obviously she would be charging a good amount for that wash.
    My question is do I really need to go to the saloon for the 1st wash or I can wash my hair at home?
    Can I use Matrix opticare smooth shampoo & Conditioner?
    Looking for Ur earliest response………

    • Randy Schueller December 1, 2016, 9:21 am

      I see no scientific reason why you have to go back to the salon to have your hair washed.

  • Madhu saini December 3, 2016, 5:32 am

    Hello. I have loreal smoothing done from overseas n the special shampoo n mask n serum they recommend me to use can’t find here. So what should i use ??
    I am using goldwell shampoo n l’oreal mask

  • Shaila December 4, 2016, 10:16 pm

    Hi I have permentaly straitened my hairs 15 days before n my is not looking actually good as before can I put ordinary shampoo or professional one how to get back the normal hair after straighting any home remides please suggest me

    • Randy Schueller December 5, 2016, 8:36 am

      You can use any shampoo but if you permanently straightened your hair the shampoo will not reverse the effects of the straightening.

  • Harsh December 14, 2016, 2:44 am

    I did Japanese straightening 3 days back.can I use lux beauty refine shampoo?
    Water, laureth sulfate, glycol distearate, cocamidopropyl Betaine, ジメチコノール, arginine, collagen, Coenzyme Q10, squalene, trehalose, glucono Delta-Lactone, citric acid, グアーヒドロキシプロピルトリモニウムクロリド, carbomer, PPG-7, TEA dodecylbenzene sulfonate acid, laureth-23, TEA, ammonium carbonate, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide, nitrate Mg, benzoic acid Na, EDTA-2Na, methylisothiazolinon, メチルクロロイソチアゾリノン, flavoring, caramel
    These are the ingredients present in it.

  • deepali December 26, 2016, 1:08 pm

    Hi I have to just complicated one month for smoothing but no bady said you do something in your hair and not my hair straight what should I do plzz reply me soon

  • achu December 30, 2016, 4:05 am

    i’ve done loreal smoothening 1 month back.at present i’m using dove shampoo.it is ok for me.or it is etter to use loreal products

  • Sheetal January 1, 2017, 12:58 pm

    Before 1 month i done my smoothning..by loreal…. Now a days my hair become oily after second day of wash…
    How to reduce oilness from my hair?
    I used a loreal shampoo n conditioner..
    Pls help as soon as possible

  • Bushra January 7, 2017, 2:38 pm

    Hi
    I got loreal extenso done one month ago my stylist gave me chi shampoo n chi infra treatment n serum. But after applying these my hair looks like as I have applied oil. So I stopped using conditioner n serum. But still using this shampoo. My hair still look very flat. Can you suggest me shampoo that can give volume to my hair!

  • ketki patwardhan January 10, 2017, 4:33 am

    Hello Randy,
    would love your advice on this: I have done the extenso hair straightening treatment by loreal at a salon.
    Thereafter using loreal extenso shampoo and conditioner as recommended by the hair stylist,
    However i would love to know if oiling my hair (massaging the scalp with natural oils such as coconut oil,etc.) will impact the effect of straightening?

    • Randy Schueller January 10, 2017, 8:14 am

      I’v never seen any data on the effect of oiling on hair straightening processes. My guess is it won’t make a difference but I really don’t know.

  • Saqif Ersalle January 25, 2017, 10:29 pm

    Hi I’ve just done cosme cream treatment to my hair for the past 3 days and I would like to know whether is it OK to use Clear for men shampoo?

    • Randy Schueller January 26, 2017, 6:44 am

      I wasn’t able to find the ingredient list for Cosme cream treatment so I don’t know what’s in it and how it works. If you can post the ingredient list I might be able to help.

  • Roma February 15, 2017, 6:13 am

    Hi I have done hair rebonding before 3 days can I use sunsilk shampoo & conditioner as I was using before pls reply as soon as

    • Randy Schueller February 15, 2017, 6:52 am

      I don’t know any reason why you couldn’t return to using your regular shampoo and conditioner.

  • Shain March 20, 2017, 1:44 am

    Hello Randy,

    I’m planning to get permanent hair smoothening. is it okay to use my regular and affordable shampoo and conditioner (TRESemme hair fall defence) after getting the treatment?

    Thank you!

    • Randy Schueller March 20, 2017, 9:45 am

      Yes although some straightening products recommend waiting a day or two before shampooing.

      • Shain March 22, 2017, 6:05 am

        Thank you for responding to my query! I really appreciate that. The first wash after the straightening will be done after 3 days at the salon only. so after that wash whenever I wash my hair I’ll continue using my TRESemme Hairfall Defence shampoo and conditioner.

        GREAT!!! 🙂

  • Amna April 2, 2017, 1:42 pm

    I’m facing severe hair fall after rebounding.
    I have used olive and coconut oil too for nourishment.But its getting severe day by day.
    Any suggestion??

  • ankita April 15, 2017, 2:40 am

    I did keratin pro shin bond 2 days before from l’oreal so can I use tresemme keratin shampoo
    Does it going to affect treatments stability

  • sahasra April 24, 2017, 8:31 am

    i have done my permanent straighten a few Days ago. after my first wash the hair is soft. but now my hair is very frizzy and dull, it doesnt look that i straightened my hair. Please help

    • Randy Schueller April 25, 2017, 8:18 am

      I’m sorry but I don’t know what you used on your hair so I can’t really help. Maybe you could check with a hair stylist.

  • Rithika April 29, 2017, 8:37 am

    I have chemically smoothened my hair..using wella products.. the hair stylist recommended System professional products.. but I’m using wella enrich.. is that fine for smoothened hair??

  • samiksha sawant. May 30, 2017, 4:47 am

    Hi I have done permanent Schwarzkopf Hair straightening one week before.
    The Hair stylist recommended to used same brand of shampoo which is too costly. Can I use another brand of shampoo or conditioner to wash my hair? suggest any brand.

  • Prathyusha padavala June 4, 2017, 1:53 pm

    Haii sir, I have done permanent straighting two months back now I m having lot of hairfall and itching on my scalp… Can I use meera shampoo (it’s a India product with mix of kunkudukai and almond) …

    • Randy Schueller June 5, 2017, 7:06 am

      I’m not familiar with meera shampoo but I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use it.

  • dhrushti June 12, 2017, 8:01 am

    1} can i use matrix shampoo and vella hair mask
    2} which shampoo is better loreal or matrix
    3} should i apply hair mask n conditioner both ?

  • Satya June 18, 2017, 7:17 am

    I have done smoothing of hair and now wanna go with soultree organic shampoo how it will be for can I go for organic shampoo?

  • nithya June 23, 2017, 12:27 pm

    3 days before i got smoothening..can i use himalaya gentle daily care

  • Sukanta July 20, 2017, 10:06 am

    I have just had my hair permanent straightened from Tony n Guy using wella straightening cream. They have asked me to use a shampoo followed by a masque. Is it necessary to use a masque.

    Can I use a conditioner and is it necessary to use a conditioner or just a conditioner based shampoo would do?

    As you said brands doesn’t matter.What ingredients should I look at while buying a shampoo for myself?

  • SHAMIA AZEEM July 31, 2017, 12:31 pm

    which shampoo is best for severe hair fall problem.

  • Muskan August 5, 2017, 12:55 am

    I have done permanent straighting 15 days back now I m having lot of hairfall and dandraff on scalp… Can I use oil now?

  • Urvashi Nigam August 6, 2017, 3:27 am

    I have got hair smoothening done 6 months ago but I get split ends very frequently I use matrix optic range but lot of hairfall please suggest me some natural remedies I m very depressed and vexed please help.

  • lia August 8, 2017, 8:08 am

    I have straightened my hair before i used use beer shampoo as i felt it more comfortable now is it okay to continue with that shampoo
    Pls do rply me sr..

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